Many MG Rover workers made redundant when the carmaker collapsed failed to find new jobs quickly because of a lack of skills, a report claims.
Under- investment in apprenticeships worsened the impact of the crisis caused by the firm going into administration, according to Wynnwith Engineering.
A lack of easily transferable skills meant many of the 6,000 Longbridge employees who lost their jobs were unable to move into the thriving aerospace sector.
Wynnwith, which supplies and trains engineering workers, said engineers needed more training to help them find work if they lost their job.
Global competition makes the collapse of some companies such as MG Rover inevitable but that only becomes a long term problem when displaced workers lack skills.
Nick Sullivan, director of Wynnwith Engineering, said: "Too many engineers in the UK acquire all their skills in one field of expertise, making their employment options far less flexible.
"We need to better recycle existing technical skills between engineering subsectors while replenishing the skill base by promoting engineering careers to school and university leavers."
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence is stepping in to help companies hit by the MG Rover collapse.
The MoD is to hold a free event at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce on August 16 to show local automotive companies how to transform their prospects through a new business programme.
The region's automotive supply chain will be offered assistance by the Defence Diversification Agency (DDA), part of the MoD.
As part of collaboration with the West Midlands based Accelerate programme, the DDA is being funded to roll out a free technology opportunity study (TOPS) aimed at helping individual companies to improve competitiveness and productivity.
The DDA's Gary Gould said: "Small and medium sized enterprises in the area are facing difficult times but we're here to help them take the time to think about the future of their business and identify what might be holding them back."
Nick Paul, chairman of the MG Rover Task Force and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, said: "I want to reassure companies that we are here to support them as much as possible and the Accelerate programme is a good example of the help on offer."
Companies wanting to attend the free MoD event between 8am and 10am on August 16 should contact Victoria Emerson on 0121 506 9153 or vemerson@dda. gov.uk.